Thursday, March 23, 2006

Enter: Narcisse

She writes on the back of a Stieglitz postcard--
Is SHE me? A great photograph will always cause me to wonder. Is it me? My favorite photos place me in the picture regardless of time, place or scene, regardless of specificity or abstraction. Months ago, I stared at Irving Penn's portrait of Stravinsky and wondered where to find me. In the hands? The ear? Somewhere behind the eyes? If a photograph fails to stroke my narcissism, then it is no good. The piece I own, for example, is ME through someone else's lens, but there are days when she is not me at all. And so I must look again.
Who looks at photographs as if looking in a mirror? As a critical technique, it is vain and narcissistic, but it assesses the work fairly quickly. Likes and dislikes are grounded in concrete, yet imaginative, reasoning. Can the method apply to music? Can I find the ME in a piece of music or in a performance? Does a composition or performer leave room or create space for me to enter and roam around? Such questions are easily measured and will hone my own aesthetics, which seem to be going through a huge transformation.


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